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Food shortages in northern Somali town cut off by rainstorms

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Af-urur town residents struggle with food shortage as rainstorms cut off the town/File Photo/Ergo

Food is short and prices have escalated in Af-urur, in Somalia’s northern Bari region, after heavy rains and flooding destroyed most shops and cut off access to the town.

Dahir Ali Abdi, a shop owner, said he lost food and utensils worth $1,500.

“Life has become tough. The roads to the town where food is transported in are cut off. People are now relying on those whose homes and businesses weren’t destroyed by the rains and money sent by relatives who live out of the town,” he said.

Two rooms of Dahir’s rented house have been destroyed by flood water and the wall around the house has been washed away. As he cannot pay the $50 rent this month, he fears he and his family of eight children could be evicted.

The rainstorms on 24 September destroyed 150 homes, displacing 200 out of the population of 600 families living in Af-urur, 70 km from Bossaso. A kilo of rice has shot up from one to four dollars.

Saytun Ismail Adan, a divorced mother of seven, lost her house and business. She and her children are sleeping in the compound of another family and sharing the one meal a day that their hosts can afford.

“Everything has suddenly become expensive – vegetables, cooking oil, food, and all essential goods are expensive. Even our host family is struggling to buy food. Most of the people are out of work,” she said.

Saytun’s tea shop and the utensils she used to sell were all destroyed. Her 30 goats were also killed.

Af-urur commissioner, Jama Mohamed, said most people in the town depended on jobs related to the frankincense trade.

“Most people provided for their families by gathering frankincense, but the rain has saturated the frankincense trees. There is no humanitarian agency that has come to their aid yet,” he said.

The commissioner warned that food was becoming very scarce. He said they had requested the authorities in Puntland to send food supplies but did not know when these might arrive.  Some families affected by the floods who moved away to outlying villages have returned to town to stay with others whose houses remained intact.

Source: Radio Ergo

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